About the authors

craig-tibbitts.jpg

Craig Tibbitts is Senior Curator of Official & Private Records at the Australian War Memorial, where he has worked since 2000.  Craig’s grandfather Vic, served with the 56th Battalion after the Great War, from 1931-1934.

nick-fletcher.jpg

Nick Fletcher is Senior Curator of Military Heraldry and Technology at the Australian War Memorial, where he has worked for over a dozen years.  Nick’s grandfather Jack Kitching Fletcher (No. 1660) served with the battalion during the war.

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6 Responses to “About the authors”

  1. Ross St.Claire Says:

    Dear Craig and Nick

    Congratulations. I wish you every success for your project. You are lucky that you both work at the AWM and have most of your primary sources at your fingertips. The 14th Brigade has until recently been a fairly neglected unit as far as histories go. If I can help in any way please feel free to contact me.

    Ross St.Claire

    Our Gift to the Empire – 54th Battalion

    Editor’s response: Hi Ross, thanks for leaving your comment and for your offer of assistance. Your book on the 54th battalion is on my list to read in the near future, obviously because they’re of the same brigade, and because their stories intertwine even more closely near the conclusion of the war. I’ll probably get in contact with you after I’ve read your book.

    Cheers,
    Craig.

  2. marmi01 Says:

    Hello Guys,

    Good to see that someone is working on this battalion’s unit history. I have the Fighting Sons of Australia for QLD and NSW book so will also have a look in there to see if it mentions any 56th Battalion men. I’m also happy to assist in any way I can.

    Mick Martin

    http://www.australian-armour.com

    Editor’s response: Many thanks Mick, for your interest and offer of assistance. We look forward to hearing from you again if you come up with something.

    Cheers,
    Craig.

  3. Larry Burridge Says:

    I have been looking for something to read on this unit, my grandfather’s for some time. He was awarded the MM for action in September 1918. I may have some old photos and part of a diary of my uncle who served with 54Bn. Like a lot of soldiers at the time they married the mates sisters etc. I am very interested in the project and would like to receive a copy of the book once completed.
    I would appreciate it if you could direct me to any written material on the 56bn that exists at the moment as I am planning to attend the 90th anniverary of Armistice day this year in France.

    Editor’s response: Hi Larry, thanks for your comment and your interest in our project. Your grandfather would be none other than Corporal Francis Cottrell Burridge (No. 2133) I gather. I can see that his Military Medal was awarded for his bravery at Peronne (1-2 Sept 1918), which was one of the 56th’s major battles. We’re writing about 1916 and 1917 at the moment, so haven’t researched Peronne in great detail yet.

    Since you didn’t mention it, I’m assuming you don’t have any of your grandfather’s photos or personal papers? If you do have something, we’d be interested in seeing it.

    Just keep in touch with this blog and you’ll be able to track the progress of the book, and when the time comes we’ll provide details on where and how to buy a copy. As for material on the 56th in the meantime, I would direct you to the home page of this blog. From there look at the list of Links down the right-hand side. The three most useful sources at present are the unit profile (a short summary on the 56th), the unit war diaries and the official history. Just click on each of these links – they’re all available online now.

    Cheers,
    Craig.

  4. Maggie Heffernan Says:

    I have a photo taken c1938 at Liverpool of the 14th Platoon, D Company 56 Battalion.
    My father is one of the group.
    Reading the AWM biography of the this Battalion I was surprised to know that it was disbanded after WWI.
    Can you give me any information about this photo. All I am aware of is that my father told me he was in the Mounted Militia.

    Regards

    Maggie Heffernan in Port Macquarie NSW

    Family Historian

    Editor’s response: Hi Maggie,

    The scope of our book doesn’t really cover the post-war militia unit, so I don’t know much about it, other than the bare basics. Essentially, the 56th Battalion (AIF) ceased to exist in April 1919. A couple of years later, in 1921, when the AIF was formally disbanded, it’s my understanding that many of the unit numbers were passed to militia (CMF) units. Therefore, the Riverina Regiment took of the number 56th.

    During the Second World War the battalion was employed in various garrison duties in NSW and later WA. Then in July 1944, it was disbanded to provide reinforcements for other divisions already deployed overseas. The 56th was apparently reformed as a reconnaissance battalion in 1956, again being based at Cootamundra.

    That’s about the extent of my knowledge on the CMF 56th.

    Regards,
    Craig.

  5. Christine Horrocks (nee Eliott) Says:

    Hi Craig & Nick
    Good luck with your project. My grandfather and his brother were in this battalion and I only found out about it after the death of my father. My grandfather was Jack Reginald Elliott and is most likely the one referred to in “Gallant Company” as “Skinny” Elliott. My grandfather’s brother was Lionel Frank Elliott. I have managed to get hold of their military records from the archives but it takes some reading/deciphering. Please keep me informed of when you get all your information together as I am very interested.

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi Christine,

      Nice to hear from you. I have come across the names of both the Elliott brothers during my research, but am more familiar with Lionel. We have a photo of him and a collection of his letters as well (held by the Australian War Memorial). My notes indicate that ‘Skinny’ Elliott was likely Lionel because in the second book Williams wrote about the battalion (Comrades of the Great Adventure), he referred to him as a sergeant. Lionel was a sergeant but Jack was only a private. By the way do you have any photos of Jack? I’d love to see them if you do. I’ll put your name and contact details on the list of people to be notified when the book is finished (if ever!).

      Regards,
      Craig Tibbitts.

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